Meet Vitaliy Klychko, world heavy weight boxing champion and aspiring politician. He and his brother Volodymyr dominate their sport and currently hold all existing heavyweight champion belts.
In 2005 Vitaliy took on the world of politics. He explains the similarities between battling it out in the ring and fighting his way up the Ukrainian political ladder.
Nataliia Liubchenkova, euronews: “Is there anything in common between the world of sport and the world of politics?”
“Well yes, there are a lot of similarities between them. In politics you need to put in a great deal of hard work in just like you do in sports. It’s necessary to work hard in both if you want to succeed and hit your aim. I suppose, in a way, having a specific character trait in sport that serves you well, can also be useful elsewhere. Politics is also very different from sports… This is especially true when you look at politics in the Ukraine, which to me is like the ultimate fight.”
euronews: “How long did it take you to switch from sports to politics? What was the hardest bit?”
“Well…. whatever you do in life you need to have experience behind you. It really wasn’t an easy transition to just switch from sports to politics. It took me a lot of years to become the Heavyweight boxing champion. The hardest thing about politics is understanding the rules and often it’s the case that there are none. There really are no holds barred.”
euronews: “I know that when you were a teenager you were a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you have any role models in the political world who you look up to?”
“Well, I am very thankful to sport. It has opened a number of doors for me. In fact, I’ve met many remarkable people in my career in both business and politics. I have been very impressed by many of them. I am very proud to say I know the likes of Bill Clinton and Joschka Fischer. I also have a lot of respect for President Roosevelt.”
euronews: “Why do you think you lost the mayoral election in Kiev twice?”
“I didn’t lose. I just didn’t win. Well you know… I don’t want to make any excuses. It was the case that I just could not prove to the electorate that I, Klychko could be a good mayor of Kiev.
euronews: “Is your brother interested in politics? There was the Kennedy family in the US, the Kachynski brothers in Poland. Could we have the two Klychko Brothers in Ukrainian politics some day?”
“My brother has no plans but he supports me in everything I do.”
euronews: “What are you afraid of?”
“If someone says he’s not afraid of anything then he is a liar. I don’t want to tell everyone what I am afraid of because these are my weak points. I want my family to be safe and healthy and yes, I am afraid of some things but this motivates me, fear motivates me. To work in areas where I don’t feel confident that’s when I get worried.”
euronews: “What motivates you in boxing now that you and your brother have achieved everything possible?”
“You know what, it is just wrong not to be motivated. I have a dream in boxing. It’s boring to live without a dream; it’s bad to live without a dream. That’s why I still have a dream that I want to fulfil, but it’s a secret until it happens and that’s why I am still in boxing.”
euronews: “Is it true, that you plan to end your boxing career soon, after a few more fights?”
“I am not going to set more records like George Foreman, who became the world champion at 45. When I have the chance to hang up the boxing gloves and say that’s it, thank you for your support, I will leave the sport.”
euronews: “Some say it’s only Nikolai Valuev and David Haye who might be the real challengers for you. Your manager says the same. Do you plan to fight all of them?”
“I can’t answer this question, because unless the contract is signed I can’t confirm anything. Until then it’s just a speculation…”
euronews: “Would you like these fights to happen?”
“Nikolay Valuev is in the Guinness Book of Records. He is the tallest boxer ever in the world. It would probably be quite unusual to box against him so yes. I would like to meet him in the ring.”
euronews: “Is it true you like playing chess? Have you played with anyone famous?”
“Yes, I’ve played chess for many years but I am not a professional. I played with my friend Vladimir Kramnik, the former world champion, and I lasted 30 moves against Garry Kasparov – which is a very good result!”